India’s Hydrological War

  0 comments   |     by Abid Latif Sindhu

Wheat belly is a book which has revolutionized the concept of nutrition and diet. As per the author wild wheat has 13 chromosomes, what is there now has over forty. The human kind is seriously altering the food chain and damaging both the botanical and zoological bio diversity, sometimes under the garb of natural selection and sometime the genetic modification. This all is going on under the severe water stress conditions. The loss of glaciers due to climate change results in receding rivers and the loss of rivers, result in diminishing aquifers. Food security is therefore the foremost element of national power. The pillar of food security is physical availability of food, socio-economic access to food and food absorption. The conditions of food security are deteriorating since 2003 in Pakistan. Food security is not only a humanitarian issue; it is the issue of national security. How we have reached this pass, just after the Uri-attacks by terrorist in Indian held Kashmir, Indian prime minister held a meeting and gave orders for initiation of a different kind of war against Pakistan, the hydrological war (as usual blaming Pakistan for everything). Since then, the intensity of making projects on river Indus, Jhelum and Particularly Chenab has increased manifold. Any file with PC-1 or PC-2 going to south block or panchvati containing project details upon these rivers is given a top priority for implementation. Modi after Uri-attacks said that “Blood and water will not flow in one direction any more”. The famous war slogan of World War 1 was “Over There”, with a Soldier pointing the enemy territories; Modi has also raised a war slogan “Over There” pointing towards all the rivers passing through India held Kashmir. Indian has declared a water war and is using water as a weapon for its surgical strikes on the western rivers. The physical signs of this aggression have started appearing. River Chenab, ahead of Khanki is totally dried up, which has never happened in centuries. The citrus growers in Sargodha are experiencing the water shortage up to 70% in even perennial canals. The sugar cane and cotton growers of southern Punjab are forced to reduce the crop coverage due to water scarcity. The growers in Sindh are also shouting foul play and will soon be the initiation point for the war-of-tag in domestic water politics. There is a meltdown of glaciers; this decade was otherwise a mean decade before a long lean period. Pakistan has no reservoir to harness the mean flow of water in Indus water system, on other hand India is filling up its 54 dams from western river and increased its availability of water from 50 days to 200 days of reserves. Pakistan is stuck at 30 days and is still receding. Unfortunately Pakistani nation is absolutely insensitive to this. Indian south block has achieved this through a two prong systemic campaign since decades, one they have made the world believe that Kashmir is a separate issue and water flow of western rivers passing through Kashmir is altogether a different ball game, which is governed by Indus water treaty. The second point which they made international audience to believe as well as the domestic is that, there is no water aggression and this all hue and cry about water theft etc is a military driven campaign by Pakistan with a handful of water nationalists. Indian water diplomatic manoeuvring revolves around these two thematic narratives which ironically everyone copied. One cannot separate water and Kashmir. The result of this separation is evident in the form of dried rivers of Pakistan. India has a history of these shenanigans. On 1st April 1948 India stopped supply of water from every canal, which created a war like situation and Pakistani wheat crop failed. USA gave wheat to Pakistan and averted the catastrophe. In 1960 under the auspices of World Bank and USA, Indus water treaty (IWT) was signed, under which three dams, eight canals and five barrages were to be built to ensure the constant supply of water to Pakistani farmers. The IWT ensured availability of 135 million acre feet of water. Under the treaty the natural flow and elevation drop is used to use run-of-the-river water, but not the storage capacity. Presently India being upper riparian is making almost all the water projects with storage capacity with the plea that storage is necessary to remove the silt through silt gates by flushing. They are citing that, in 1960, this technique was not introduced. Actually there is a devil in the details of IWT and the problem is in the interpretation of Annexure D and Annexure E. Pakistan is being converted slowly into a desert through the tacit application of these two annexes of IWT. Pakistan has become the most water stressed country in the world. In 1947 per capita availability of water was 5000 cubic meters, by 2014 it reduced to 1200, and now it is even less than 800 cubic meters. If the recently initiated water projects on Chenab, Jhelum and Indus followed the trajectory as envisaged by Mr Modi, then after two years, it will be around 500 cubic meters, which will barely be enough for drinking only. India has completed 17 power generation plants on Chenab, 16 on Jhelum, 17 more are likely to be completed in next 2/3 year when magnanimous Chenab will be a tract land of Sand and gravel. Chenab through 21 canals irrigates 7 million acres of agriculture land. Only Baghliar Dam has reduced 7000 cusecs of flow in Chenab. Another dam sawalkote will completely dry out Chenab once it is completed. India is also building Salal dam, Dul Hasti, Pakal Dul, Sawal Kot, Ratta, Kwar, Bursar, Kirthai, Uri hydro Project, Kishan Ganga hydro project, Chutak and Nino Bazgo dams. Total projects on Pakistani rivers cross the figure of 50. Pakistan has electricity generation potential of 70,000 Megawatts if the Indus river system is utilized, where as barely 5000 Megawatts are being produced and for rest the more expensive options are adapted, Pakistan has 22.5 million acre of fallow land waiting for irrigation water. Out of a total of 77 million acre of cultivable area, only 36 million acre is canal irrigated that too under sever threat from water aggression of India. Anything which is not fixated has multiple centres of gravities as per the laws of Physics. Any ideological country has therefore multiple centres of gravities; Pakistan has Agrarian economy, youth, Expatriates and Army as its multiple centres of gravities. All these are simultaneously under attack by the enemies of Pakistan. Indian stance as per the lwig principle on the Sir Creek issues and on IWT is based on hegemonic perceptions. All the trans boundary aquifer in Pakistan along the river are drying up and people are made to believe that it is not a issue, merely a clarion call of water nationalists and military analysts. Like all Indian recent aggression against Pakistan, the water war has also two fronts, one the western river and other stoking Kabul to make multiple water storage facilities on Kabul River to strangulate River Indus. The only water body which India willingly traverse towards Pakistan is a pollutants Stricken, effluent loaded, Hudiari drain which is playing havoc to the arable lands of Lahore and the bed of Ravi. Land and water are the gold mines of 21st century. Just recently a Saudi Prince bought almost all the riverian lands along Ethiopian Nile to secure the rice production for next 50 to 100 years for Saudi Arabia. China is also buying agriculture land on Africa and all around to ensure the food supply to its people in the coming century. Pakistani decision makers are suffering from a lamp post crisis, the story goes that once a man lost his diamond ring at a beach, but was searching the same under a lamp post. The passerby asked him that why he is searching his ring under the lamp once he has lost it at the beach, the man replied, because there is no light at the beach. The recent war of Syria is actually the result of water scarcity, which came slowly and the ruling elite remained under the lamp post searching their lost rings of lord. If Pakistan wants to avert an Ethiopian or Syria like situation, then the water issue is to be taken seriously and the surgical strikes on Pakistan’s water bodies be given appropriate response. Modi’s new strategy of hydrological war is not a mere threat; it is visible, vivid, happening, palpable and absolutely physical. The Yugo, Skardu, Basha and Kalabagh dams are to be built without wasting a day, because every day after his yoga session, Mr Modi is signing a new water project on western rivers. The writer is a free lance who contributes regularly on security related issues. He is also a PhD Scholar who can be reached at

Share to Facebook